Inspired by shared core values, an engaged community and a dynamic head teacher, Benhurst Primary School in Essex embarked on a schoolwide technology upgrade that has seen school results improve, bolstered children's confidence and helped prepare students for the jobs of the future.
When David Denchfield began five years ago as Head Teacher at Benhurst – a lively school with over 400 pupils in the eastern suburbs of London – he says that while the school was doing some really good things, it was stuck in the past and required improvement.
“We had blackboards and whiteboards and we had overhead projectors. It was useful, but it wasn't the tool to move learning forward and actually it was quite uninspiring.”
In consultation with teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders, Denchfield led a transformation of the learning environment from the desks to the curriculum and the ICT.
“We invested a lot of time and money researching a range of different ICT providers, and we felt that SMART was the right fit for our school,” Denchfield says.
Now each class has a new SMART Board® interactive display along with SMART Learning Suite software and Denchfield can see it’s made a difference.
“We have a number of children, 3 or 4 years ago, we weren't able to get them to come out of their shell,” he says. “What we found with technology, and in particular if I take SMART amp™ as an example, the children have suddenly found a voice.”
“I used to be let's say one of the shy ones who didn't like speaking a lot,” says Jenson, head boy in year 6 at Benhurst. “So, I think SMART really helped me with that because you can communicate without actually talking which I like the best.”
Head girl Rose is very clear technology is the key to her future: “Technology’s important for me because, think 30 years back, and the jobs that we have now, we wouldn’t have had back then. Maybe I’ll have a job in the future that isn’t invented now.”
Denchfield sees his role with staff as simply to unlock student potential. And with school results that have improved from national average to above national average across all age groups, the transformation has clearly been a success.
“Children are already inspired. They come to school with a love of learning, a love of life. Our job is to continue that journey.”